Posts Tagged 'Tatsuo Miyajima'

Taking Time in Silence and Time

The DMA special exhibition Silence and Time has been a great springboard for conversation on tours with students and in programs with teachers this summer.  Since we have just a month left to enjoy the installation, I thought it would be fun to share some new experiences and conversations it inspired, and some familiar activities we revisited.  Look for a blog post in mid-August about a half-day teacher workshop in Silence and Time that incorporated some of the experiences below.

Start with silence
Prime yourself for time in the galleries by sitting in silence for a few minutes.

Silence and Time was inspired by a specific few minutes of silence: American artist John Cage’s 1952 composition 4’33.”  As the introductory wall text states, “Cage’s controversial work comprises three movements…arranged for any instrument or combination of instruments. All of the movements are performed without a single note being played. The content of this composition is meant to be perceived as the sound of the environment that the listener hears while it is performed, rather than as four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence.”

What did you notice during your 4’33” of silence?

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Just one minute
Take just one minute to look at an artwork.  When your time is up, turn so your back faces the artwork, and write down as many details about it as you can.  If you’re with a friend, have him or her quiz you about the artwork with your back turned.  How much were you able to notice and remember in just one minute?

Look longer
Spend fifteen minutes with just one artwork in the exhibition.  Get close, move far away, and use ideas below to help you look closely.

  • Create a log of what you see.
  • Make a sketch of the work of art.
  • Write down questions you have about the work of art.
  • Write down what you like about the work of art.
  • Write down what confuses you about the work of art.
  • Write down how the work of art makes you feel.

Tracking time
Consider all the ways time can be measured both mechanically (clocks, calendars) and naturally (changing of seasons, hair growth, erosion).  Find as many examples of ways we mark time as you can in works of art in the exhibition.

Find the time
Are there artworks that suggest suspension of time?  Time moving slowly or rapidly?  That time is cyclical or linear?  Challenge a friend to identify different representations of time manifested in artworks in the exhibition.  If you enjoy thinking about possible shapes time could take, pick up Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams, a collection of short stories that describe parallel universes where time behaves differently–sometimes in circles, sometimes backwards, etc.

Make your own artwork
Use make-shift art materials from your purse or pockets to create an artwork that will change with time.  As you’re looking for materials in your purse or pockets, consider which objects show more or less wear and tear and which objects age more or less quickly.  Then, explore the galleries looking specifically at materials the artists used.

Silence and Time is on view until August 28.

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach

Living the Dream

Uncrated tracked down the DMA’s Chair of Collections and Exhibitions, Tamara Wootton-Bonner, to talk about her job at the Museum. Tamara has the large responsibility of overseeing the Museum’s exhibitions, publications, collections, libraries, archives, and digital imaging departments, and as you will read below, she knew early on that she wanted to work in a museum.


Describe your job in fifty words or less.
I’m the Chair of Collections and Exhibitions and I oversee the exhibitions, publications, collections management, libraries, archives, and digital imaging departments. My main job is to make sure that our exhibitions, publications, and other key projects happen successfully (and are on time and within budget) and to keep everyone happy.

What might an average day entail?
Meetings and e-mails! Besides that, I have to take on a variety of roles: in a single day I might have to be a cheerleader, mom, taskmaster, accountant, lawyer, writer, editor, project manager, critic, negotiator, facilitator, logistician, bad guy, and, if I’m lucky, I get to look at art. The greatest days are working with designers and artists . . . on exhibitions, publications, building projects, etc. But I also have fun managing budgets, negotiating contracts, solving problems, and planning for the future.

How would you describe the best part of your job and its biggest challenges?
The best part of my job is working with lots of wonderful, creative people. It’s exciting to see ideas come to life and to know that you’ve been a part of it—whether it’s an exhibition, a publication, or something else. I love to watch an exhibition come together or smell a new book hot off the press.

The biggest challenge can be trying to do too much with too little. We are an ambitious bunch around here and almost everyone is a perfectionist.

Growing up, what type of career did you envision yourself in? Did you think you’d work in an art museum?
As a child I wanted to be an artist. I used to draw and paint all the time. But by the time I graduated from high school I knew I wanted to work in a museum. I started as a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and now . . . here I am.

What is your favorite work in the Museum’s collection?
I have several—Franz Kline’s Slate Cross, the Indonesian tau tau, and the Olmec jade mask are among my absolute favorites. But it changes every day. Tatsuo Miyajima’s Counter Ground and the James Lee Byars works in the Silence and Time exhibition, on view now, are amazing.

Is there a past exhibition that stands out in your mind as a favorite, or is there a particular upcoming show you’re looking forward to seeing?
That’s easy—The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier! It’s going to be phenomenal. We’ve never done a fashion exhibition, so it’s going to be a challenge. But it’s going to be an exciting challenge.


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